Rocky Mountain high
I pulled in the driveway in Moriah this past Saturday evening after nearly three weeks on the road. Four of us did a stint in Colorado, where we were involved with an elk hunt and a trout-fishing journey.
We embraced the beauty in the high plains of the Rocky Mountain range country. Elk and mule deer were spotted browsing and grazing on the brush and grasses, while brook and rainbow trout swam in the Forks of the South Platte River. Sharp peaked 14,000-foot mountains and air as thin as the sheen of ice on the beaver ponds greeted us on the 10-degree mornings. It’s good to be back where the air is as thick as porridge and breathing is easy! I love the west, but the green Adirondacks welcomed me home.
One of my traveling compadres has traveled the world hunting for elk, bear, mountain lion and Cape buffalo. He told me his story, but I can’t share it all. As the reader, you need to drift off in the story the way I did. You need to read it firsthand to appreciate the adventure, the beauty of the story and the beast involved.
Fran — whose radio handle is “fleabag” — had an adventure in Montana that most hunters would not survive. He was attacked by a grizzly bear.
Fran George’s book is called, “Intruding on a Killer.” The story takes you to Montana, bow hunting for elk in the high country, back packing in gear, and a tale about wranglers and cowboys helping fellow hunters get a wounded man out to safety. You will enjoy this tale of survival.
With deer and bear season under way, I thought a few good books about bears would be appropriate.
The second book is by another fellow hunter and friend, John “Jack” Harris. The book, titled “Beyond my Wildest Dreams” is about Jack’s life working with black bears while employed with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, as a guide in Alaska and his hunting exploits dealing with whitetails, brown bears, and African safaris, hunting kudu, impalas, and Cape buffalo. Wild safaris, guerilla warfare in Rhodesia and West German G-3 automatic weapons are all entangled in Jack’s hunting stories. Jack tells about fishing in Ecuador, Canada, scuba diving, sharks and even fishing on our own lake Ontario.
Both of these books are written by guys who have lived the dream and still do to this moment. They write about hunting and the taking of game, but more importantly they talk about family, the beauty of nature and life and death. Both men volunteer with community programs; the fire department and the Red Cross. Givers, not takers!
Many city people think hunters are takers and only think about killing. Hunting is as natural to mankind as watching a sun set or the full moon coming up over a grassy meadow where cattle graze. I got to live the natural life these past few weeks glassing the mountains while standing on South Peak; a 12,500-foot barren peak above the tree line. I was Rocky Mountain high.
Hunting season is upon us now, so go forth and enjoy the season, stay safe and when the winter winds blow hard and the woodstove is humming out a smoky song, sit back and enjoy these two books by friends of mine. You will enjoy their adventures.
Rich Redman is a retired District Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and an avid outdoorsman. His column will appear regularly. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.